A step towards better child and home care in Connecticut

CT-EO-signing2011.jpgHartford - Connecticut's seniors, people with disabilities, and young children applauded Governor Dannel P. Malloy yesterday for signing an executive order that will improve the quality and stability of care they receive.

The order, hailed as a first step toward solving workforce shortages, gives family child care providers and personal care attendants (PCAs) the opportunity to create organizations to be their voice in advocating for improvements.

"We play a very important role in the development of the children we care for, which is to get them ready to learn," said Denise Gaston, a licensed child care provider with 30 years of experience. "I'm thrilled that the Governor is helping us gain a voice to stand up for the quality, affordable child care that the parents I serve really need."

In both the home care and child care system, the lack of a focused recruitment, training, and retention strategy has created high turnover and made it difficult to find reliable care. With providers united into organizations that can advocate for quality improvements, it will build a more stable, professional workforce that consumers can better rely on.

The order also creates a consumer-majority Quality Home Care Workforce Council, modeled after those already active in a handful of states including Massachusetts. Its first task is studying ways to improve recruitment, training, and retention of home care PCAs.

"I need more hours of care but they keep cutting the hours," said Imla Eubanks, a home care consumer. "Now, through this council, consumers like me, PCAs, and advocates can sit at a table together and come up with ways to make sure consumers like me get the hours of care we need."